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Shopping Cart Tipover

Saturday
June 11, 2005

"Oh no, I'm not going in the chair where the unsavory types have sat in before!"
-Juliette Lewis, on the Howard Stern show, 5/26/2005

I've been having fun the past day on GarageBand.com. I know that for some of you, that site is old news (it was one of Time Magazine's 50 Best Websites... of 2003!), but I visited it for the first time last night. I read some article yesterday on MSN.com where they referenced an artist that was on the site, so I went there to check it out.

I ended up spending a few hours on the site, listening to songs and bands I'd never heard and writing long, in-depth reviews about the songs. I discovered this amazing 15-year-old Australian singer named Samantha Lombardi who, with the right push, could be the next big thing in pop music. I was floored when I found out her age (gee, that looks a little creepy in writing); on the review process you know nothing about the band or even the name of the song. Only after the review process do you find out the details. Anyway, her songs are available on the site (and you can listen to and/or download them for free); if you want to hear what I'm talking about, visit this link.

So far, I've written eight reviews. They are reviewed by an third-party source, which looks over the review and scores it from 1 (low) to 11 (high) based on how well-written it was. I've received five 11s and one 6 (can't win them all, I suppose). I really enjoy the whole review process, though it's a shame I don't have a band, as band members get credits for their own songs being able to join the mix by reviewing other bands' work. My credits pretty much go to waste, though I'm eligible to win prizes or something in a monthly drawing. But I'm not doing it for a payout; I'm doing it to hear new, undiscovered, fun music. To me, that's a thrill, and it's one of the things I miss about my college radio days at 91.5 WUEV in Evansville, Indiana.

I got home from work last night and realized that I needed to hit the grocery store, since I was almost out of milk, entirely out of bread, and in all of the Tropical Storm Arlene over-hype I feared would put people into a weekend panic. I ended up going over to the "bad" Kash 'N Karry that's on the corner of MLK and Nebraska.

When I first moved to Tampa, I mean that crazy weekend where I drove nearly non-stop from Huntington to here in April 2001, I went to that grocery store and nearly freaked out about my decision to pick Ybor as a spot to live, since that store, in my opinion, isn't the nicest one in the world. There are never enough shopping carts there, it's always dirtier than the other Kash 'N Karries I've visited, and I always have that wondering in my mind if I might get jumped in the parking lot. But, dammit, I needed some skim milk, and there was no way I was going all the way back down to Dale Mabry or up to Hillsborough Avenue.

The shopping itself was easy enough, with the store being less crowded than its Dale Mabry counterpart (Dale Mabry, for those of you not familiar with Tampa, is the name of a major road here). The milk guy was there reloading the supply as I pulled up with my shopping cart, so there were no problems there. The bread section was a different story; you'd think that there was a Cat-3 Hurricane heading right for Tampa the way the shelves were barren. That's what I get for not having purchased more bread yet since my return from Nashville.

I got what I wanted, including four 12-packs of Diet Mountain Dew Code Red (which has entered my soft drink Hall of Fame as a first ballot inductee), as the DMDCR was on sale for $2.50 according to the price saver sign. Only later, when I got home, did I see that the sale apparently did not exist, as I got charged normal price for it. D'oh! But I needed to restock on it.

A couple of paragraphs ago I mentioned how the shopping carts there are scarce. I got one, but they were pushed way in the back of the shopping cart storage area, and there weren't many left. The ones that were there all appeared to have something wrong; either the handle looked like it had a spill on it, or the wheels didn't move properly, etc. But on the right side there were carts that could flip up, and the one I took seemed to work fine. It wasn't deep on storage space, but I didn't care, since I bought less than $40 worth of stuff.

An easy-pour gallon of milk
Anyone want to try being the first person to pour from this gallon of milk?

However, I changed my tune on the way out to the parking lot. I took my groceries out (no one ever, ever asks to take my groceries to my car for me -- maybe it's not protocol like at Kroger up in Nashville, though my guess is they figure a tall, healthy 27-year-old guy can handle it himself.) As I began to load up my car, right at the beginning... the cart tipped over. You read that right: THE SHOPPING CART TIPPED OVER. I was not amused.

The four 12-packs of Code Red I believe were the culprit, but there was no weight warning on the cart, and the guy bagging my groceries offered no such caution. But there I was, moving as fast as I could, trying to get my groceries from the nasty wet pavement and into the trunk of my Honda Accord. Yet again I was in a situation where I wished I had a digital camera with me; I would've stopped everything to snap a picture of that. Instead you'll have to settle with a look at what the fall did to one of the two gallons of skim milk that I bought. I ended up managing to pull the compressed top of the milk jug out, but that was beyond bizarre. All of the plastic shopping bags went right in the trash; normally I save them to use as trash bags for my small bathroom wastebasket, or to carry things as needed, but these I wanted gone. "Hmm, murky rainwater on a bag, lovely!"

Getting the cart upright was no easy trick; it was top-heavy and took some effort to hoist. I did the job, but someone of lesser strength would've been in a world of hurt. So let my parking lot mishap be a lesson to you if you ever end up with a flip-top grocery cart.

A couple of people at the FRHS Class Reunion asked me why I wasn't married yet. I thought usually only women were asked those types of questions. I pointed out all the fun and beautiful women that can be found down here in Tampa. Too bad I didn't have this picture with me to illustrate my point. Decorum kept me from talking about all the marriages gone wrong that I've seen and how many of them were a direct result of people who got married too young, as the Reunion really wasn't an appropriate place to go off on that tangent.

Time now to do some work on my entry in the The Tennesseean's 2005 Summer Fiction Contest...


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